New research by comparison website finder.com.au has found that more than one-fifth of Australians aged between 25 and 29 still live at home with their parents.
That figure doubles for younger Australians, aged 20 to 24.
The survey found the average age which a child should start paying board is 19.
Finder insights manager Graham Cooke said that this is the age where they will start their first part-time job and begin to generate income.
“It seems to be the sweet spot nationally. That’s the age kids go to uni, start their first part-time job and generate income and become young adults,” said Mr Cooke.
However, not all Australians agree on charging their children board; as one in five believe their kids should live with them rent-free regardless of their age or financial situation.
UNSW City Futures Researcher Dr Edgar Liu, who wrote a study into this in 2012, said that money is the most common reason for a multigenerational household.
This is an attempt to help millenials continuously save to buy their own piece of the property market, something which has shown itself to be a difficult feat.
“Many families are also actively choosing this living arrangement to better provide care for young children and the elderly (the second most common reason),” said Dr Liu.
Dr Liu’s research found a mother (with a deposit, but unstable income), and daughter (at university with steady employment and could service a mortgage), who had bought a house together. In other cases, parents have also been known to put their children’s board aside as a home deposit for the kids.
Leo Patterson Ross, advocacy and research officer at Tenants Union of NSW, said Sydney’s high cost of housing, for buying and renting, left children living at home longer than usual too.
“I’ve spoken to classes at two different universities and courses where not a single person was renting in the private market,” he said, “because private rentals and property ownership has become more expensive we see middle-aged people and professionals still in share houses and being the only ones who can afford. They’re pushing out students as a result.”
While it makes sense for families who could afford to help their children save money, Mr Ross worries it exacerbates housing affordability and the likelihood of property ownership for those less well off.
“It raises the questions about the families who can’t afford to waive rent,” he said.
Mr Cooke said while children and parents don’t see eye to eye on when to start paying board, one thing is for certain: children don’t become financially independent earlier than their parents.
“Financial circumstances are not as healthy as those in the boomer generation because property prices and rents are so high at the moment. That’s forcing people to stay living with parents,” he said.